President Goodluck Jonathan’s wife, Mrs Patience Jonathan on Tuesday resigned her role as a permanent secretary in the Bayelsa state Civil service. Though the resignation was said to have been voluntary, reports are that she resigned to support another aspirant to replace the state governor.
Mrs Jonathan had communicated her resignation verbally to the Governor over a month ago but the official letter was submitted on Tuesday.
Jonathan was in an eye raising appointment made a permanent secretary in July 2012. There was a general public outcry against the appointment but the state governor, Seriake Dickson stuck to the appointment despite the public outrage.
Mrs Jonathan resigned because her relationship with Governor Dickson had gone sour and she is not particularly disposed to his re-election. Her resignation was to enable her have a moral justification to push for another candidate.
Mrs Jonathan is reported to prefer the Special Assistant to the President Jonathan on Domestic Matters, Mr. Waripamowei Dudafa.
Mrs Jonathan is believed to be very influential within the PDP especially in the South south zone where she and the President hails from.
An official said, “The whole thing is political. It appears Madam (the President’s wife) is not happy with the governor. With her resignation, the battle line has been drawn.
“I feel the President’s wife resigned to enable her to have the moral right to slug it out with Dickson ahead of the governorship poll in the state. Let no one deceive you, the whole thing is politics. After all, she is 57 and the retirement age is 60.”
However, another official in the Ministry of Education denied that the resignation was politically motivated, “I can say Patience Jonathan has voluntarily retired. But whether there is political undertone in her resignation or not, I cannot say.
“I think the First Lady felt that her continued stay as Permanent Secretary will be depriving others. Now that she has resigned, it will afford others the opportunity to take over her position.
“Already, in accordance with the civil service rules, we have prepared all her entitlements. Whatever is due her will be given to her. She will also be receiving her pension.”
It remains unclear at this time if reports of her new political inclinations are true and how she will handle supporting her candidate against incumbent Govenror Dickson.